November 30, 2013

Merry Little Owl Holiday Ornament Tutorial

This may seriously be the cutest thing I've ever made.  I hear Jack Nicholson in my head yelling, "You can't handle the cuteness." And he's right, I can't! I need to make more right now.  Okay, well maybe I can wait until this afternoon when I host my annual ornament making party with the fam. 

With just a few crafty materials you can whip these up.  You can get fancy with handmade hooks or keep it simple with waxed linen or cord.  I have several variations that I'll dish about down below.  If you make some of these you MUST show me! It's required.  By law.  Okay, it's not, but I would love to see what cutie pies you create.  You can share them on my Facebook page with me.

White polymer clay*
Acrylic paint - I use Folk brand craft paint (several colors plus raw umber)
Paint brushes
Plastic mechanical pencil
2" brass headpins
Pewter bead caps in different sizes
Waxed linen
Paper towels
Alphabet stamps (rubber stamps or metal stamps)
Wire cutters
Round and chain nose pliers

Optional - Clay sculpting tool with a fine point for carving details, you can find them in the polymer clay section at craft stores.  The ends kind of look like a dental tool.

*I like Sculpey for these kinds of projects.  It's easy on the hands and has a great matte finish that takes the paint nicely.

  • Work surface - cardstock, glass, tile - don't work directly on a table, polymer clay can eat the finish.
  • Don't use kitchen items with clay, you must have a dedicated polymer clay pan. (Hello Dollar Store.)
  • Wash hands thoroughly after handling clay
  • Keep on eye on baking clay and use an oven thermometer to make sure you have the correct temperate.  
Make the Owls
1. Roll a 1" ball of clay in your hands.  Don't worry about measuring, just guesstimate.  Pinch the clay on one side to form a point for the ear, repeat on the other side.
2. Use the end of paint brush to make the eyes.  
3. Create a triangle with a tiny piece of clay. Press it onto the face of the owl, smooth out the edges with your finger.
4. Press the tip of the pencil (with the no lead) to create dots around the eyes.
5. Use the sculpting tool or headpin to create an oval shape for the wings. Trace out little feather shapes in the wing area with the sculpting tool.
6. Stamp words onto the belly with letter stamps.
7. Poke a hole through the length of the owl with the headpin. Bake according the manufacturers suggestions.

The last 3 photos show a few variations.
1. Use the tip of the pencil to create a feathered belly instead of stamping a word. 
2. Make a pointed nose and then press it down.
3. A simply nose option is to form a flat triangle instead of a pointed one. 

1. Paint the owl the main color all over.
2. Antique the owl with brown paint, whip off immediately.
3. Paint the words a different color, whip off excess paint.
3. Touch up the color around the face and body of the owl. 
3. Paint around the eyes with just a little bit of paint, almost a dry brush.
4. Paint the feathers on the wings several different colors.

Wash your brush when switching colors and dry it completely each time.

1. After the owl is dry, add it to a headpin.
2. String on two bead caps, upside down.
3. Trim the wire to 1/4" with wire cutters and form a simple loop.
4. Tie on waxed cord.

Each one will have his own personality! Create them in the colors that match your holiday decor.  I could see some in metallic colors too.

Remember if you make some, I'd love to see what you create!

This post has been added to the Art Bead Scene's Ornament Blog Hop, check out the great line up of creative ornaments here
The Idea Room


Marie Cramp said...

I am so going to try this! I just have to wait a few days for my hand to heal. I almost broke it and it's very tender. I will show you when I am done of course ;)

Work Of Our Hands said...


baymoondesign said...

Thank you! I am going to give this a try. I actually have everything needed and my daughter loves owls!

Anonymous said...

Oh, so cute! I'll have to do this one with my girls :-)

Unknown said...

Definitely trying this today I just made my first few polymer clay beads yesterday so this should be a fun little project to try next!!

Vanessa Prieto said...

I don't think I can handle the cuteness... but I'm gonna try!! :) Great tutorial. Thanks Heather!

Anonymous said...

These owls are adorable. Definitely want to try making some.

Anonymous said...

totally adorable, can't wait to try and I know nothing of clay. so cute!

Suzanne said...

Love these, adorable and thank you so much for sharing!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Heather, as always your projects are darling. I love little birds, especially owls. I have never worked with clay-just to many other hobby projects. Do the owls air dry or do you have to bake them? If so, what temp & how long? My oven has optional convection if that works better. Thank you Susan

PerennialGirl said...

Thank you!! I luv Owls and this is a perfect Xmas present!!!

DBS Studio said...

Can you please tell me what kind of alphabet stamps you use?

They are a cute font and don't seem to have the beveled edges that are on the metal stamps.

I really want some lower case small letters, but have trouble finding what I think will work on the clay.

kerensky said...

So totally cute - would love to try these, thanks for sharing.

SusanDolphinDelaney said...

I love every one of them. Thanks for the tute. Your owls leave me with a warm feeling in my whole heart.

Jill said...

Those are really cute

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing this tutorial. I am going to try it.

la mar de bonita said...

Ohhh, thank you for sharing these Heather ♥♥♥ :0))) They are so cute! That's what I have to give a try after my last Christmas fair this weekend.

Charis Designs said...

I seriously need to try my hand at poly clay, and this is the perfect inspiration. Absolutely adorable! Christie

glassbead, isinglass design said...

Your ornament making party sounds like best fun! Thanks for the owl instructions- very cute.

Keith@ Vintage Crab Jewelry and Crafts said...

I love the owls and the tutorial is fantastic!

Heather Powers said...

Debi - the alphabet stamps I used are rubber stamps found at Michaels.

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

I hear Jack, too! I love these!!!
jean xox

Niky Sayers said...

These are fantastic!

Niky Sayers said...

These are fantastic!

Ann Schroeder said...

These are seriously adorable!

Wallcakes said...

i've noticed that the owls, as well as most of your work has a very matt finish. does the paint not come off if you don't use a finish on it?